“How I Met Your Mother” alum Josh Radnor and “The Returned’s” Mary Elizabeth Winstead will star in PBS’ civil war drama “Mercy Street” from exec producers Ridley Scott, David W. Zucker, David Zabel and Lisa Q. Wolfinger, the network announced Wednesday.
Directors Roxann Dawson and Jeremy Webb have also been added to the six-part series, which marks the first American drama to air on PBS in over a decade.
“Mercy Street” follows the lives of two volunteer nurses on opposing sides of the Civil War — New England abolitionist Mary Phinney (Winstead) and Confederate supporter Emma Green (played by newcomer Hannah James) — when the Green family’s luxury hotel in Alexandria, Virginia, has been transformed into Mansion House, a Union Army hospital tending to those wounded by the war. The series is inspired by memoirs and letters from real doctors and nurse volunteers at Mansion House Hospital.
Radnor will play Jedediah Foster, the civilian contract surgeon who grew up in a privileged Southern slave-owning household as the son of a wealthy Maryland landowner.
Gary Cole (“The Good Wife,” “Veep”), Peter Gerety (“The Wire,” “Syriana”), Norbert Leo Butz (“Bloodline”), Jack Falahee (“How to Get Away With Murder”) and AnnaSophia Robb (“The Carrie Diaries”) will also co-star in the project, alongside McKinley Belcher III, Shalita Grant, Cherry Jones, Cameron Monaghan, Donna Murphy, Tara Summers, L. Scott Caldwell, Suzanne Bertish, Wade Williams, Luke Macfarlane and Brad Koed, who round out the cast.
“It’s an honor to be able to tell the exciting stories of real experiences and struggles of the war,” said Beth Hoppe, chief programming executive and general manager, general audience programming at PBS. “I know this talented and diverse cast and crew will be able to bring ‘Mercy Street’ to life on screen.”
Wolfinger commented, “Our diverse and colorful cast of characters — union doctors, female volunteers, contraband laborers and Southern loyalists — will bring to life the chaotic world of Union-occupied Alexandria, Virginia, and the Mansion House Hospital.”
Zabel added, “We’re thrilled to welcome these amazingly talented directors and actors to the set of ‘Mercy Street,’ which tells the story of one of America’s most tumultuous times. In their capable hands, this multilayered story will be brought to life in a completely fresh and engaging series, including introducing two up-and-coming young cast members.”
Scott and Zucker serve as exec producers, along with co-creators Wolfinger and Zabel, who also serves as writer on the series. Clayton Krueger is co-exec producer and David Rosemont is producer. The project, filmed on location in Virginia, hails from Sawbone Films and Scott Free Productions.
“Mercy Street” will join PBS’ Sunday night lineup, along with the final season of “Downton Abbey,” in winter 2016.